The striking detail and color in Jeanne’s painting is among the most beautiful I have ever seen. You are immediately captured by the colorful macaws that draw you into the Amazon basin and the thickness of the canopy of branches and leaves of the tropical trees. Along with its stunning tropical flowers, we get a glimpse of the Amazon River, over 4,000 miles long, and second longest in the world only to the Nile. The Amazon, found in South America (over half is located in Brazil), is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, covering over 1.4 billion acres.
The landscape contains 2.6 million square miles in the Amazon basin (about 40% of South America). Along with the millions of plant, fish, mammal, reptile, bird, butterfly and insect species, as well as the Earth’s last shelters for jaguars who require large areas of the rain forest to survive, the Amazon is also home to 400-500 native tribes. Some believe that about 50 of these tribes have never had contact with the outside world!
Macaws are the largest of all parrots and are noticeable by their brilliantly colored plumage. The macaws have gripping toes they use to latch onto branches. Two of their toes point forward, as you can see in the painting, and two point backward. They can grab food with their toes and bring it up to their mouth. They have beautiful, graceful tails that in some cases are longer than their bodies. Macaws are intelligent and social birds with loud calls and squawks used to identify one another. Some can even mimic human speech (“Polly want a cracker?”). Flocks sleep in trees, and, with their pointed wings, are able to fly swiftly and for long distances.
They have large, powerful hooked beaks that easily crack nuts and seeds. Macaws mate for life and share food and groom each other. The mothers take care of the eggs while the fathers hunt for food. Because they are playful birds, they have become popular pets (many are trapped illegally), which is one of the reasons they are on the endangered species list.
There is a clear connection between the health of the planet and the health of the Amazon. Because the rich vegetation here takes carbon dioxide out of the air and releases oxygen back in, this area is referred to as “the lungs of the Earth”. The Amazon produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen!
THASC artist Jeanne Cadman has transported us to a place that is for the most part untouched and undiscovered by the rest of the outside world. The beauty of her intricate detail is captivating and she possesses a creative talent so rare that we all hope she will be painting for a very long time.
Please join me again on Thursday and don’t forget to leave me a comment. Thanks!